Tuesday, 17 January 2012

On Getting back in the Saddle

Up until tonight, I hadn't worked on my work in progress since 4 January.  In my usual fashion regarding groups and regular commitments, no sooner had I signed up to the marvellous #WIP500 over on @caramichaels blog, Defiantly Literate, than I disappeared. 

Not literally.  That might have been cool.  But I was back at work and in keeping with my New Year's Resolution to sleep and thus avoid being completely mental, I've been trying to listen to my body and have a decent balance.

Unfortunately, in last year's frantic wave of productivity I failed to notice that the combination of full time work and parenting is bloody knackering.  If I'm not distracted by writing, by 11pm my eyelids are drooping.  By midnight I'm unconscious.

And I've been too tired to write.

It was a weird thing.  Gradually, I started to feel aggrieved.  As though something important had been stolen.  Then I started to lose my nerve.  Maybe my writing mojo had just run out?  Maybe I just didn't have it in me any more?

But the teasing temptation of Twitter stopped me from disengaging completely.  Seeing other folks sharing tips, and successes, prompts to join various flash fiction challenges and a timely hello from the lovely Cara Michaels prodded me into action.  I want to do #WIP500.  I want to get back in the saddle.

Only I couldn't remember my book!

Looks like an etch-a-sketch, saves lives
So I emailed it to my kindle and re-read it.    Now, I don't know if published authors read their own books, or whether once completed, they can never bear to look at them again.  But this was good.  Kind of like hugging an old friend.

And here's the weird thing.

When you read your book on a kindle, it stops being your book - far more than if you read it printed out on printer paper.  It looks like a book.  Like a REAL book.  And somehow, disbelief becomes suspended.  I found I was reading another author's book, and moreover one that I liked.  I wanted to know what happened next.  I liked the characters.  I wanted to know the ending.

I wanted to know the ending.

The ending is not yet written.  The book is only two thirds complete.  And when I got to that bit - the incomplete bit, I was enraged.  DAMN IT!  I want to know how it ends.

And here's the cool bit - I get to decide how it ends! 

So that's my top tip.  If you're lagging or flagging, if you've had a break or lost your mojo, don't despair.  Get yourself a kindle (or equivalent) and enjoy the fruits of your own talent.  You never know, you might enjoy yourself. 


Unknown said...

An inspirational post. Sent it to your Kindle to read :) What an amazingly cool thing to then realise, it was a book you wanted to read - and you got to be the one to write how it goes on to end. Good luck.

David A Ludwig said...

Also note I want to read it. I'm in way over my head trying to catch up on reading and writing for more different things personal and professional than I can keep track of--but I guarantee if I could get your novel into my queue it would not slip through the cracks.

I too have felt I've lost my mojo lately, though in my case it's in a more general sense and may be related to my experiment with giving up eating and sleeping to make time for getting things done. Balance is hard.

Meg McNulty said...

LOL, I know that feeling David! However, I am also more than aware than sleeplessness dims creativity. We need to give ourselves a break!